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tk13
09-20-2004, 02:08 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/9708973.htm

Receiver situation grows more dire

By IVAN CARTER The Kansas City Star


Eddie Kennison limped out of the Chiefs' locker room Sunday afternoon, the victim of a hamstring injury he suffered while trying to reach an extra gear during a fly pattern in the second quarter.

Johnnie Morton caught five passes for 76 yards against Carolina but is still bothered by a bad Achilles' tendon and clearly doesn't have the juice to blow by his man. Dante Hall had no receptions, and rookie Richard Smith saw two catchable passes slip through his hands.

That about sums up the Chiefs' receiver situation after two games.

Injuries, an inability to create separation, dropped passes and inexperience have conspired to ground an offense that led the NFL in scoring each of the last two seasons.

“Right now we're just very, very thin at wide receiver,” Trent Green said. “Going into camp and minicamp, it was one of our deepest spots. Right now, we're just scrambling to put guys in there.”

Other than Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez, the Chiefs don't have a receiver who scares anyone.

That much became clear in the fourth quarter when Carolina rookie cornerback Chris Gamble jumped Morton on a deep out and intercepted Green. When Morton ran that exact route five plays earlier, Gamble arrived a half-step late and was able only to knock the ball out of Morton's hands.

When Gamble stepped in the huddle before the play on which he made his first career interception, safety Mike Minter offered this advice: “Sit on the out.”

“It got to where you knew they weren't sending any of those guys deep on us,” Minter said. “We didn't feel that they could get behind us, especially with Eddie out of there. So they kept running the out, running the out, running the out.”

Other than Kennison's 57-yard reception on the second play of the game against Denver last week, Green's longest completion to a wide receiver this season has covered 31 yards. In two games, the Chiefs have converted only 28 percent of third-down situations, and yards after the catch have been practically nonexistent.

The mistakes haven't even been limited to the passing game. In the fourth quarter, at a time when the Chiefs desperately needed a big play to turn the game, Morton was called for holding even though it appeared he was well out of the play.

“We've been the least-penalized team in football the last two years combined,” coach Dick Vermeil said. “(Today) we were penalized for a wide receiver holding on a big long run. It's just the little things — maybe a little lack of discipline on our part, lack of concentration and focus. It just seems like right now, we're getting them called in that situation.”